No one is gunning for problems in national parks

Some people believe you’ll be taking your life in your hands if you head into most of America’s national parks and monuments today. That’s because a new law takes effect today that allows licensed gun owners to carry firearms into parks and monuments if state law allows it.

Because Colorado has a concealed-carry law, it is one of the states where weapons are now allowed.

But we don’t believe the sound of gunfire will suddenly erupt across Colorado National Monument or bullets will spray across Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

After all, people have been carrying weapons on lands controlled by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management for many decades — even when it’s not hunting season. Random gunfire and firearms negligence have seldom been problems.

Beginning today, guns will be allowed in 372 of the parks, monuments and other facilities maintained by the National Park Service. Firearms will still be prohibited inside park visitor centers and rangers’ offices because guns are banned in federal buildings. State laws will regulate whether they can be carried into private lodges or concession stands on park grounds.

The prohibition on guns in parks, especially in backcountry locations, has never made a great deal of sense. Requiring park patrons to abide by the same laws they do on other federal lands is far more reasonable.


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